Why Muslims Should Learn Western Civilization

It is obvious that Western civilization is on the decline. It is losing its creativity penchant and a sense of beauty as well as direction. It is rapidly becoming an obsessive agnostic, immoral and ungodly freak.

Optimism and confidence are fading fast. Less and less ingenuity and answers are in the offing, making it a junk civilization that lacks substance. The decline may soon turn into a free fall.

Indeed, there is more to life and happiness than sheer matter and material progress. Unfortunately, most people learn the truth only when it is too late.

The problem however is that Western civilization imposed itself as a global phenomenon. It did so mainly by force, through the channels of colonization, imperialism and globalization, which, in essence, is synonymous with westernization.

Western civilization is purported to be an ultimate civilization, denoting the end of man’s sociocultural, political and economic evolution. It should be the “end of history”.

Therefore, its proselytizing appetite, whereby the gospels of westernization and modernization are most earnestly preached, is unprecedented. The world needs to be evangelized in the name of Western values and standards.

The Western civilizational outlook signifies the bona fide savior of mankind, i.e., the messiah. There ought to be no deity except for the deity of Western humanism and materialism.

Towards an Islamic Resurgence

In parallel with all this, there are signs of a widespread Islamic resurgence. Even though they are few, hazy and disjointed, the signs are there and increasing nevertheless. The ultimate objective is a total Islamic civilizational renaissance.

By the way, Islamic civilization never ceased to exist. It only went – was sent – into a hibernation state. It cannot expire, for its soul is everlasting. The presence of the truth it seeks to enliven and exemplify is overarching. It needs but rethinking and recalibrating.

The resurgence is expected to pick up the pace proportionally to the decline of Western civilization. That is the case because of some fundamental principles that govern the rise and fall of civilizations, and because Islam is the only remaining capacity that can take up the baton.

There is no other all-encompassing system of thought and practice left in the world that can lay claims to being able to do so. The world is tired of claimants and pretenders. The necropolis of history is full of them.

Towards Islamic Renaissance

That Islam is the only hope left is a nightmare prospect for right-wing extremists, ultranationalists and all other anti-Islam activists worldwide. That explains the current unfathomable hullabaloo about Islam and Muslims. It is likewise the root cause of the recent dramatic rise and diversification of Islamophobia.

As a consequence, Muslims pay more and more attention to the matters of Islamic values, history and civilization as the prerequisites of an Islamic renaissance. Which is commendable and should be supported by all means, especially in the field of education with all its dimensions and levels.

Certainly, there is no Islamic civilization without authentic Islamic thought and intellectualism. And there cannot be Islamic civilizational independence without the total independence of education and thought. Freedom, thought and education constitute a civilizational “trinity”.

The Importance of Learning Western Civilization

There is something else, though.

For Muslims to learn Western civilization is as critical as learning Islamic civilization. Both are indispensable for a proper Muslim awakening.

The benefits of learning Western civilization could be summarized as follows.

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About Dr. Spahic Omer
Dr. Spahic Omer, an award-winning author, is an Associate Professor at the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He studied in Bosnia, Egypt and Malaysia. In the year 2000, he obtained his PhD from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur in the field of Islamic history and civilization. His research interests cover Islamic history, culture and civilization, as well as the history and theory of Islamic built environment. He can be reached at: [email protected].